I turned 72 the other day. I’ve been officially “retired” for about 26 months. It’s time to assess my new status. I’ll try to do that in a series of postings on retirement. No doubt there are few who will care. And why should they? No, I don’t expect that many will read these postings. I’m thinking of them more or less as therapy for me.
To begin with, I can’t tell you how many times friends and former colleagues have asked me “. . . and how do you like retirement?” The lilt of their question and the look on their faces suggests that they expect me to say “It’s been terrific. I’ve never been happier.”
However, it’s been more complicated than that. For one thing, I don’t think my retirement really began till about two months ago. That’s because since my end-of-career party in May of 2010 I’ve been teaching off and on in Costa Rica – in a Latin American Studies Program. Even apart from that, my bride of 36 years, Peggy, and I have been traveling almost non-stop. So I feel the jury’s still out on my particular retirement – at least if you think of it as kicking back, slowing down and withdrawing from the fray.
Let me get more specific. Travel-wise, here’s the way I’ve been spending my time for the past 26 months:
- Three eight-week stints in Costa Rica teaching in a Latin American Studies program = 6 months
- Five months in South Africa accompanying Peggy on her sabbatical in Cape Town.
- Ten weeks with Peggy in Mexico while she researched her forthcoming book.
- Three weeks in Costa Rica for Christmas with our entire immediate family (2011)
- Two weeks with our daughter Maggie’s family on a Mexico vacation (2010)
- Two weeks with Maggie’s family on a Mexico vacation (2011)
- Five day visit with our eldest son, Brendan in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico where he’s stationed in the U.S. Embassy (2011)
- Four visits with Maggie in her home in Westport, CT = 2 ½ months total
- Three visits with our youngest son, Patrick in New Orleans where he taught first grade in the Teach for America program = 1 week total
- Two summers in Canadian Lakes, MI – in the lake cottage we purchased from the estate of Peggy’s recently deceased father = 3 months.
TOTAL TRAVEL TIME: about 21.25 of 26 months or well more than the majority of my first two years + of retirement has been spent on the road.
I’m feeling it’s about time to settle down and find out what leaving employment behind is really like.
But so far It hasn’t been all travel. At the beginning, I set some definite goals for myself that covered areas of my life I wanted to grow in. Looking back, I can see that I’ve met some of those goals. Others . . . not so much. . . . More about that in my next retirement posting.